The COVID‐19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on every aspect of our lives, including the way we drink alcohol. The Australian Government has implemented strict social distancing measures to contain and prevent the spread of the virus, including requiring all food and drink premises to close or only offer takeaway and home delivery. New South Wales (NSW) Liquor and Gaming has responded to these measures by temporarily relaxing liquor licensing restrictions to allow any licensed premises, including restaurants, cafes and small bars, which do not usually have the authorisation to sell alcohol for off‐premise consumption, to sell alcohol for takeaway and home delivery. Similar measures have also been introduced in South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia.
With families already under financial and psychological stress as a result of the pandemic, increased alcohol use at home has the potential to exacerbate problems further. Harmful alcohol use is linked to a range of negative effects in families, from adults modelling poor drinking behaviours to children, to domestic violence and child neglect. According to data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, around 30% of recorded domestic violence‐related assaults in 2019 were flagged by NSW Police as alcohol‐related. Harmful alcohol use by carers is also a factor in an estimated 21–54% of child abuse and neglect cases in Australia, with alcohol more likely to be involved in more serious cases